Gaza Hostage Release: "Start of Process," Says Biden But Clueless on US Hostages

The initial release of 24 hostages, which included 13 Israelis and 11 foreigners, did not involve any Americans.

In a press briefing on Friday, US President Joe Biden expressed uncertainty about the timeline for the release of American hostages held by Hamas as part of a deal with Israel.

The President, currently vacationing with his family on Nantucket Island, stated, "We don't know when that will occur. We're gonna be expecting it to occur, and we don't know what the list of all the hostages are and when they'll be released, but we know the numbers that are going to be released."

Joe Biden

Biden acknowledged that the US does not have information on the number of American hostages still held or their conditions, with nine US citizens and one permanent resident still missing. He expressed hope and expectation that the release would happen soon.

Hamas had agreed to release 50 hostages within a four-day truce period, part of the larger group of around 240 taken from southern Israel on October 7. The initial release of 24 hostages, which included 13 Israelis and 11 foreigners, did not involve any Americans.

President Biden emphasized his commitment to securing the release of all hostages, stating, "We also remember all those who are still being held and renew our commitment to work for their release."

The announcement comes amid pressure on Biden from left-wing Democrats to intervene in Israel's conflict with Gaza. Demonstrators in Nantucket called for the freedom of Palestine and an end to the fighting, directed at the President after his comments.

Commenting on the truce, Biden highlighted its potential to provide essential aid to civilians in Gaza. He noted, "The truce brings a critical opportunity to deliver much-needed food, medicine, water, and fuel to the civilians in Gaza." However, he criticized Hamas, stating, "Hamas doesn't give a damn about them."

As part of the agreement, Israel has suggested the possibility of extending the truce if Hamas releases 10 more hostages per day after the initial period. Additionally, Israel has agreed to release 150 imprisoned Palestinian women and children.

Terming the release of the initial batch of hostages as the "start of a process," Biden sees it as a positive step forward. "Today has been a product of a lot of hard work and weeks of personal engagement. From the moment Hamas kidnapped these people, I, along with my team, have worked around the clock to secure their release," he said. "We saw the first results of this with the release of two American hostages in late October, followed by the release of two Israeli hostages."